Yesterday I spoke briefly on my own infertility journey & how to bring awareness to the disease. Just like any other condition or illness, when people find out, they want to help & give advice. And just like an obese person doesn’t need to be told to lose weight by a friend, an infertile person or couple doesn’t want to be told _____________ .
- To Just Relax or go on a vacation
Although you mean well, anything along these lines isn’t really helpful. A couple isn’t even diagnosed as infertile until after a year or more of trying to conceive without having a baby. So telling someone that relaxation is the medication they need to conceive is usually offensive and minimizes their condition.
- Giving advice when you have no idea what you’re talking about
Ok, this sounds a little harsh. A better way to phrase it would be uneducated advice. Any infertile woman or man knows that unless you have been through what they have been through, you cannot possibly understand. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t sympathize or give great advice! But please, do your homework first and ask us questions before you start delving out “advice.”
- Don’t say “There are worst things that could happen”
Sure, we could all be hit by a car or drop dead tomorrow. That would be probably be worse. But minimzing the deep feelings & strong emotions of someone who just had a miscarriage or a stillborn baby is cruel. Any mother knows the immediate bond and unconditional love she has for her child. A woman who has had a miscarriage feels the same way, I promise you. Imagine if all of your children died… you would never tell that mother “things could be worse.”
- Don’t ask “Why haven’t you tried IVF or adoption or surrogacy”
While these are all amazing ways to grow your family, not every couple is ready for these steps. Unfortunately many people are unaware of the immense costs for IVF, adoption or surrogacy, let alone that most health insurance does not cover these services. IVF increases the risk of multiple pregnancies and will cost $15,000 or more on average. Surrogates typically get a flat fee of $20,000 plus the birth parents pay all medical costs. And adoption varies greatly…but you’re looking at the same costs, plus your baby will not be genetically related to you & the birth parents can always pull out at the last minute causing extreme emotional trauma.
- Please, don’t complain about your pregnancy or your baby (or children)
Everyone needs to bitch & moan and we totally get that! But when you are aware your dear friend or family member is struggling to build their family, please watch your words when you complain about your pregnancy. As an infertile woman, I can tell you there is nothing in this world I would rather experience than a big belly, heartburn and morning sickness. Imagine having a wonderful dream for years and years, and you see everyone around you attain that dream, yet you are left empty handed and hurt. That’s what infertility is.
Infertility is a pain that doesn’t subside. As a woman, It has changed me greatly. So what can you do to help?
- Be encouraging, supportive, ask questions, take interest, support our decision, remember us on Mother’s Day!
- And lastly, be a listening ear
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